Saving money is an issue for most of us. Whether there is not enough to make ends meet or we just aren’t sure how to manage it, money can be a giant source of stress to anyone’s life. My love/hate affair with money goes up and down like a yo-yo most days. Anytime we think we are getting ahead, life hits us with just “one more thing” and the bank account goes back down to zero.
Just like with anything else, it’s important that we don’t give up! Take some classes, read some books or articles, and implement small money saving ideas until the finances are what they need to be.
In the House and Money Organizing post, I introduced some ideas for saving as well as a 52-Week Savings Printable. Some of the tips below can be found there and some are new. There are also three different versions of the 52-Week Savings Printable, depending on where you are in your saving journey.
Simple Money Saving Tips
- Keep the change. Get change back anytime you pay with cash. Look for loose change around the house–the laundry room seems to be a common place for ours! Collect all you find in a jar (or two) and cash it in once a year.
- Sell something every week. It doesn’t matter if it’s the smallest thing you can stand to part with, if you can make $2 on it, that’s money you didn’t have before. Read about how much clutter we all really have in the Clear the Clutter Challenge series.
- Make half payments on your bills. This allows you to pay a small bit extra every month without breaking the bank. Bills get paid off faster and when they are all paid off, the money in the bank is yours again!
- Pick a denomination of money and save those bills. $1, $5, $10, $20…whatever you can spare. Choose a set amount of time to save only those bills. I did a one month trial with $5 bills and ended up with $60. Not too shabby.
- Eat the leftovers. Designate one night a week as “Leftover Night” and pull everything out of the fridge that needs to be used. It’s like going to a buffet…everyone can have their own thing! Don’t forget to freeze what you might use later. Even those small portions can be frozen and reheated for an individual lunch or snack.
- Renegotiate those bills. The Super Trooper is a holdout to satellite television (we can’t get cable here). I wanted to cancel. He wants to watch sports. My compromise was that we would have to drop down to a smaller package because the payment was just too high. He called and they offered a $25 decrease in price, along with a sports package and another free channel. He can watch sports and I don’t have to give up Food Network or the Cooking Channel just yet!
- Open an online savings account. Although I think it’s a good idea to keep a little cash put back, when I do that, I spend it. Having an online savings account allows me to save money, but keep it pretty accessible. Find a bank that allows you to transfer money between accounts and/or offers a debit card for immediate needs. Try to leave that at home though–save money, don’t spend it!
- Don’t shop when you’re hungry. We all know it, but we all do it anyway. I think the only thing that causes more impulse buying than hunger is a toddler!! Just don’t do it. Shop sales, buy what you need, and use apps for cash back on purchases.
- Use what you have. Fix the broken things. Use up the food in the pantry, fridge, and freezer. Don’t bring new things in without letting go of the old–purge all the stuff! (Again, check out Clear the Clutter.)
- Stay home more. Eat dinner at home. Have family game nights and staycations. Save the big expensive stuff as a treat instead of an every weekend thing.
52-Week Savings Printable ($400)
This 52-week savings plan may seem underwhelming, but it is perfect for anyone on a limited budget. Let’s face it…when you are practically broke, any amount of savings is a big deal. Four hundred dollars may not do a lot, but at least it will get us started on the way to bigger savings and provide a little cushion in the event of an emergency. It’s also a great amount for small household projects, short getaways, and gift-giving. Create different goals and print a page for each one!
52-Week Savings Printable ($2300)
This is the original savings plan that I came up with. For me personally, having varied amounts to save each week keeps me from getting bored. If I get bored, I lose momentum and stop saving altogether. Weird, right?!? Also, having the amounts go up and down each week makes it easier to obtain the funds. We all have those times when the money is just not there!
Your personal savings goals are going to be different than mine, but $2300 will pay for a nice vacation, fund household repair, replace appliances, or fund an emergency account AND still have money left for Christmas (presents, food, and all)!
52-Week Savings Printable ($3250)
This $3250 savings plan is almost $1000 more than the last one. That’s a lot of groceries, y’all!! There are bigger plans out there and again, our goals are all different. There is a lot that can be done with $3250, but it would make a great sinking fund for things like house insurance and taxes or for medical expenses (I pray it never has to be used for this). That amount of money should also cover the loss of income for a month or two if need be.
A savings plan is really just a guideline. Any of them can be customized to fit your own needs–skip a week, add extra money, etc. It can seem hard to save money sometimes, but it is so nice to have extra when those emergency situations pop up!